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Showing 1-10 of 68 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 162 reviews
on February 12, 2010
Assessing the talent of Idol contestants can be a tricky thing. Some of them sound really good on the show, singing standards and proven hits, but they don't come across so well in the recording studio. Others are so-so on the show, but their albums turn out to be good. To me, Kris Allen is one of the latter. During the competition, I saw him as a smiling audience-pleaser. But his CD reveals more talent and appeal than I gave him credit for. On the show, I didn't regard Kris as being "serious" enough. But on this album, he sings about serious subject matter, mostly relationship problems, and his voice reveals both intimacy and strength that I didn't notice on Idol. The lyrics are very clearly sung, and despite the production, his vocals, when they are not multi-tracked, almost seem "live". You can hear Kris begging for understanding of his human flaws, and expressing other basic feelings - confusion, need, determination, the joy of youth. Some of the music is slightly country-tinged, but mostly it sounds like mainstream pop-rock. Although many tracks are formulaic, this is to be expected on the first album from an Idol contestant. It's up to the artist to breathe life into them, and Kris does this. The material is mostly sincere, not much attitude or irony (although he does strike a hard-rock pose in "Can't Stay Away"); but then, he's a sincere guy. My favorite tracks are "Written All Over My Face", with its demanding "talky" vocal and some glam-rock guitar; "Is It Over", which has a "bluesy" feel, both vocally and instrumentally; "Alright With Me", a happy, carefree acoustic number; "I Need To Know", a slow, quiet piano ballad with touching lyrics and heartfelt delivery; and "Heartless", another demanding vocal beautifully executed. Kris has certainly captured my attention with this CD.
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on December 3, 2009
I'm one of those who liked Kris on AI and like this album a great deal. It's the only AI album I've ever purchased. I do find the songs admittedly mainstream but very catchy. There is a sadness to many of the songs; most of which are about breaking up. I don't understand those critics who say that Kris lacks emotion or feeling in his music. I think its there in every song, sometimes painfully so.

I'm surprised that few reviewers mention the spiritual side of Kris and his music. There is a definite spritual, although not overtly Christian, tone to many of these songs, esecially "I Need To Know", which I hear as a very moving and mournful prayer. This is one thing that attracts me to Kris and his style of music. I'm not a Christian. I know Kris is; I think in the very best sense of the word. He lets his sprituality into his music without hitting you over the head with it. He's a serious young man who I think knows his limitations and strengths. He may never have the mass audience of Michael Jackson or Carrie Underwood and I doubt you'll ever see simulated oral sex in one of his shows. But he is a talented young man, with a pleasing voice and great songwriting and interpretive skills who many people can identify with. He'll have a successful and long, perhaps relatively modest, career and this album is a great start to it.
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on August 11, 2010
I admit it. I liked Kris on IDOL but thought Adam outperformed him. A year later, I'm glad I was wrong, as this album is (for me), miles above Lambert's. The songs (especially the ones written or co- by Allen), are mostly excellent and survive multiple (in my case hundreds) of listenings. Sometimes the production is a bit much; when you have a voice as good as Kris Allen's, you don't need every instrument on every track. It was said by movie critic Pauline Kael that voices like Bessie Smith and Aretha Franklin had a healing quality that other (albeit excellent) singers like Billie Holiday didn't have. I feel that way about Kris Allen. His singing has a heartfelt, soothing quality that conveys compassion and an understanding far beyond his 25 years. Some might call that an old soul, but that's become so trite now. I'll just say that this CD has for me the same quality and value that Joni Mitchell's best work (like BLUE and COURT & SPARK) have: they heal. They elevate. They inspire. I'm disappointed that this album hasn't had the smashing success of some other IDOL debuts only in the sense that it says something sad about current tastes. Let's hope it's inspired enough people so that Mr. Allen can entertain and touch us for many years and we can grow along with him. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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on January 25, 2011
And it's not like I regret voting for Adam. Adam is fantastic and I love his album like crazy. But for all the fervent Adam fans out there, don't let your disappointment in the Idol finale keep you away from a really great album by Kris Allen.

This is an excellent CD which fully delivers on the promise Kris showed on American Idol. The lyrics are heartfelt and the backing ranges from the simplest of guitar or piano to the richness of a full string section on a couple of tracks. Favorite songs include Alright With Me (ADDICTIVE), Before We Come Undone (still think this should have been a single), Can't Stay Away (if the first 30 seconds don't grab you, I don't know what to say), and I Need to Know (raw and emotional and gorgeous).

I'm ridiculously late with this review, so who knows if it will even be read. But I'm getting impatient for a second major release from Kris (btw, his youthful first effort, Brand New Shoes, is TOTALLY worth hunting down) and I figured better late than never to make a plug.
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on April 4, 2010
I was very excited to hear the offerings of Kris Allen's debut album, as I'd enjoyed his turn on the show American Idol last year. I thought performances such as his renditions of Ain't No Sunshine and Heartless showed potential for him to become a serious artist-- and I feel his debut album shows even more of that promise.

The leading single, "Live Like We're Dying," surprisingly snuck up the charts and became a top ten pop hit, along with selling over a million copies, a trajectory very similar to Allen's "dark horse" run on Idol. While I enjoy the song and the undeniable hook-y chorus, I actually think there are many others on the album that stand above it.

Allen displays a wide range of emotion, going from the irresistibly catchy "Alright With Me" to the gut-wrenching "I Need To Know." "Alright With Me" is not only an immediate earworm, but the production by Mike Flynn is fantastic-- little touches like the horns make it almost reminiscent of a Beatles classic. "I Need To Know" is the closest thing Allen has on the album to an "indie" track. It is very stripped down, raw, and full of anguish, showcasing the emotional cry in Allen's appealing tone to the hilt.

Other standout tracks include "Red Guitar," Allen's only solo songwriting credit, which again has Mike Flynn's excellent production and a soaring vocal, "Bring It Back," with a fantastic heartfelt and emotionally honest delivery by Allen, and "Written All Over My Face," another uptempo driving track penned by members of The Script that fits Allen like a glove.

This is an album I can listen to on repeat and never get tired of it, as it provides such a diversity in sound while still remaining true to Allen as an artist. It isn't a perfect album by any means, but even the weaker tracks aren't ones I skip over, and when taking into consideration the ridiculous time constraint all Idol debut albums face, this is a fantastic showing. With this debut Allen displays that he has tremendous potential to have a long career in the music industry. I can't wait to see his next offering.
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on June 30, 2010
This is a wonderful debut album by Kris Allen. I knew him somewhat from American Idol, but forgot about him until recently. I picked up his album when a friend told me he'd seen a live show of his, and that it was incredible. I've since also had the pleasure of seeing Kris perform live, and I must say, that while I would recommend the album to anyone - it's chock full of heartfelt, gorgeous lyrics and earworm melodies, sung with passion and heart by a great singer - seeing Kris perform live beats his album by leaps and bounds. He and his band obviously adore making music together, and he's got a sensuous yet energetic stage presence that belies his age and experience. I will definitely go see him in concert again, and look forward to his upcoming albums. He can consider me a new - and likely lifelong - fan!
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on December 20, 2009
Kris Allen delivers a melodic raw experience. Live like We're Dying is the catchiest track. Red Guitar, originally written for his wife, Katy is special because it is so personal. This album reminds me of an album you would put on when you just want to crash and get lost in your thoughts. Music playing in the background and catching lyrics and phrases here and there to relive your own memories. Sort of a rainy day, laid back vibe. The Heartless track starts out with a bland beginning, but then gets in the groove and is as enjoyable as his performance on AI. I'd rate this a B- because I know Kris poured his heart in it, but would have liked a few more upbeat numbers to even out the album as a whole.
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on January 8, 2010
I was mentally prepared to adore this CD, as I have all of Kris's AI songs on itunes and I love them all! The CD took me by surprise with its pop/rock vibe and I found myself wishing for less guitar and more Kris. The first time I heard this CD's version of "Heartless", I felt as though I were listening to "Heartless on Speed", lol. I have to admit this faster version has grown on me, though, and I really like it now. My favorite songs are: "Before We Come Undone", "Bring it Back", "Alright With Me" and "Heartless".

Will I buy Kris's next CD? Absolutely! I def LOVE Kris's voice and I'm hopeful the next CD will put more emphasis on that voice I could listen to all day - and less emphasis on guitar.
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on August 11, 2010
I am not a person who likes "junk". I am not trained or anything but I know when I hear a talented vocalist. The range in Kris' voice is awesome and he uses it to inflict emotion and energy into his songs. There's a lot of variety on this CD. There's songs with messages, fun songs, and emotional ones. The arrangements are absolutely fantastic!!

I have been an Idol fan the last few years and have really enjoyed some of the talent. I even bought a couple of CD's but by far, Kris Allen has the best CD and I really can't wait for the next one! What a shame more people have yet to discover such a gifted performer!
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on December 22, 2010
I enjoyed watching Kris on American Idol, and I really liked two of his songs: "Live Like We're Dying" and "The Truth." So buying this CD was an easy choice for me. After listening through the CD 5+ times (doesn't take long, it's a pretty short album), those are still the only two songs that really stick out to me.

Kris is a great singer and I like his voice, but this CD was just "alright" for me. I think the next album he comes out with will be better and I look forward to seeing what the future brings him.
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